Published On: April 4, 2018 10:27 AM NPT By: Pooja Bista

Breaking the gender stereotypes

Breaking the gender stereotypes

In our traditionally male-dominated society, women are expected to cook, do household work, and raise children. Men tell their wives what to do. Women are supposed to be shy, submissive, organized, and clean while men are expected to be tough, aggressive, dominant, lazy, and messy. The society has imposed specific gender roles and both men and women are bound to behave accordingly, otherwise they are considered to be violating gender norms. For example, if a girl smashes with a boy, she is termed ‘tomboy’ and if a boy cries in front of others, he is given a name like ‘wimps’.

Gender stereotypes grow from the cradle until death.  Both girls and boys are given limited options to behave, talk, work, dress and many others. Does that even make sense while we both from an inseparable whole of living the human life? What if a straight boy likes pink color but hesitates to say because of traditional gender stereotypes.

Even sports are divided between male and female. One of the male-dominated sports is Futsal. It is often categorized as ‘manly’ or ‘male domain’. Because being female sweaty, tough competitions are not considered as ‘feminine’. Furthermore, women are expected to play in a safe manner and protect their reproductive organs. They are believed to be delicate, and are expected to play only boring and physically less demanding matches. However, compared to five years ago, woman participation in sports is increasing. 

A few days back, I was a part of the first Women’s Futsal Tournament, where young girls and women from diverse backgrounds were competing against each other. I witnessed an active participation like never before. There was competition between school girls and working women associated with different companies. It reminded me that age is just a number and I was overwhelmed with the motivation of these women. From the stunning match they played, one could understand what girls and women could do.

Gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in the social mindset. Each day, we fight for gender equality. I think gender roles should not exist. A woman can do anything if she is determined to do it, just like a man can do anything. However, when a woman do cross the lines set by our society and show the so-called ‘manly traits’, her gender identity, sexual orientation, values, and social roles are often questioned.

Women in sports are breaking a lot of male-dominated stereotypes and barriers of our society. We should encourage, train, guide and support girls and women to participate in a wide variety of sports. While there is still a long way to go, women can surely break the traditional stereotypes. We girls and women need to be brave enough to not let any label hold us back.

The Futsal tournament, organized by Youth Legend and supported by Flytech International and Red Bull, had aimed to break the glass ceiling through sports. Most of the players were taking part for the first time. They believed playing Futsal was one of the major steps to come out of their comfort zones. They also mentioned that it played a significant role to boost their self-esteem and confidence, challenging the traditional stereotypes. 

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